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Birmingham speakers from three faiths stand in solidarity as Government doubles Ramadan donations

Birmingham speakers from three faiths stand in solidarity as Government doubles Ramadan donations

Leading Christian, Jewish and Muslim clerics are all speaking at a major interfaith event in Birmingham to welcome the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the charity Islamic Relief. Speakers at the event on June 23 will include the Lord Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquart; Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi of Birmingham Progressive Synagogue; and Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad (Professor TJ Winter).

Donations to Islamic Relief in the UK this Ramadan will be matched pound for pound by additional funding from the UK Government, helping to establish an exciting new project in Sudan. The charity’s new partnership with the Department for International Development is being announced by its UK Director, Jehangir Malik at Monday’s interfaith event in the Banqueting Suite at Birmingham’s Council House. The three interfaith speakers, Mr Malik and Islamic Relief Chief Executive Officer Dr Mohamed Ashmawey are all available for brief interviews.

Bishop David says: “I am pleased to be celebrating the arrival of this important time of year with Muslim and other colleagues here in Birmingham, where we are working closely together to achieve cohesion in our flourishing and diverse city. Congratulations to Islamic Relief on 30 years of service and care for those in need world-wide.”

Jehangir Malik says: “Sudan is where it all began for Islamic Relief, because we were set up in 1984 to respond to the famine there. We are delighted to announce in our 30th anniversary year that our supporters can double their donations this Ramadan through match funding from the UK Government up to a maximum of £5 million, enabling us not only to assist poor communities around the world but also to improve health, education, water and earning potential for over 113,000 people in 54 villages in Sudan.”

Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad says: “I am so pleased to be standing in solidarity with the Lord Bishop and Rabbi Jacobi to celebrate the arrival of this important time of the year for Muslims, here in Birmingham which has been experiencing such difficulties recently with the faith school issue.”

The month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and give generously to charity as they think about those less fortunate than themselves. British Muslims donate over £100 million to charity during Ramadan, and Islamic Relief receives around a third of its annual income during Ramadan.

The aim of Islamic Relief’s new project in Sudan is to get beyond short-term fixes and help families rebuild their lives by making long-term improvements in the provision of clean water, education and healthcare, and by creating lasting opportunities for people to earn a living.

Almost three quarters of the people in the West Darfur and Blue Nile areas of Sudan can’t get clean water easily, so Islamic Relief will build 122 new water points close to people’s homes. Nearly half the population can’t get healthcare, so Islamic Relief will rebuild and stock clinics, train health staff and tackle malaria.

Many children don’t attend school due to long distances and poor facilities – especially girls, who are kept at home to fetch water and often get married young. So Islamic Relief will rebuild and equip schools near to girls’ homes, train teachers and provide basic facilities like latrines and school meals. It will also train women and young people in new vocational skills to help them earn a living, as well as supporting farmers and livestock owners with training and equipment.

Islamic Relief’s Ramadan appeal leaflets, advertisements and videos are dominated by the ‘double your donations’ message and the word ‘Alhamdulillah’ – ‘all thanks be to God’ in Arabic. “We want to give thanks for all the hard work of volunteers and staff over our 30-year history,” explains Jehangir Malik. “We want to give thanks for the blessing of match funding from the Government, which means we can help twice as many people this year. And we hope our donors will want to give thanks for all the good things in their lives by giving generously to those less fortunate.”


For more information at the event, contact Martin Cottingham ([email protected] / 07702-940982).


  • Islamic Relief is an international aid and development charity that aims to alleviate the suffering of the world’s poorest people in over 30 countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As well as responding to disasters and emergencies, Islamic Relief promotes sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities – regardless of race, religion or gender. Islamic Relief is one of the 14 UK charities that form the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) – see
  • In its 30-year history Islamic Relief has helped 92 million people. This has included providing health care to 17 million people and educating over 300,000 children. Around 38,000 orphans are supported by Islamic Relief sponsors around the world.
  • UK Aid Match is the Government’s scheme to give the public a say in how a portion of the aid budget is spent, by matching public donations to charity appeals for projects to reduce poverty in developing countries. UK Aid Match was launched in June 2011, and Islamic Relief has so far been awarded match funding for its 2012 and 2014 Ramadan appeals. Further details at

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